Faux Vintage Photos – How Popular Are They?

Summary – Photography progressed from “grungy” low quality monochrome images in the 1800’s to near perfect quality color after a century or more. Lately the pendulum has started to swing back – at least for some camera users who intentionally “antique” their images in post-processing. Β Just how popular is this trend? Where do you stand?Β A survey….


This gallery leads off with the captured image

Followed by Instagram’s rendition

The remainder of the gallery consists of versions of the capture

Produced by the likes of (in no special order)

Color Efex Pro Vintage filters

HDR programs

Silver Efex Pro


Other vintage photo effects programs


Click on any image for a full screen slide show


Recently Instagram celebrated its 3rd birthday

It’s used regularly (says Instagram) by over 150,000,000 users

That suggests a lot of interest

In square format low quality grungy photos


I can think of reasons for this starting with the difference between

1. Casual shooters vs. more serious “photographers”

Easy “Art?” vs.

Investing time, $, and effort learning a craft?

2. Another thought – intentionally degrading image quality

Hides lots of image quality flaws

That we good shooters with expensive gear avoid πŸ˜‰

Got a bad photo? Hide it by imitating poor quality antiques

Oversimplified, but I believe the above two are at the heart of it

No disrespect intended to either group


Instagram isn’t the only option for making vintage-like images

Snapseed by Nik (now part of Google+) is a prime example

In addition, Color Efex Pro has numerous vintage effect filters

As does Silver Efex Pro

And OnOne & Topaz products

Also, many folks use HDR extreme effects to a similar end

It’s hard to believe that folks need even more options


How about you?

Where do you stand on creating faux vintage images?

Do we need more programs to produce faux vintage photos?

If you feel more are needed

Please explain what & why in a reply (Thanks)


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7 thoughts on “Faux Vintage Photos – How Popular Are They?

  1. These vintage style plug in filters have there place and can produce some interesting images without users having to spend hours of time and knowledge in photoshop. I think it’s a nostalgia trend that harps back to the days of film and polariods. You’re right that it’s no replacement for good intelligent photography as long as you don’t take it too seriously.

    • I suspect you’re right. However, the puzzling part is that the age of many (most?) Instagram fans is such that film & Polaroids are before their time – so when it comes to nostaligia per se I ‘m not so sure.

      nostaligia – a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations

      • Maybe they’re longing for the past they never experienced in this instant digital age. I remember the fun of the dark room, waiting with anticipation for your image to appear in a dish of chemicals. I can still smell it now!

  2. Ed
    Interesting post (as usual)…I happen to be ine of those who can remember when the photos sorta looked like what you posted. I have quite a few of those black and whites with the pinking scissors edges…know what I mean?
    I remember as a kid looking at the albums my grandmother had and of course they were all black and white (actually brown and white). I also have a number of polaroid and instamatics in albums too.
    So for me it is very much nostalgia. πŸ™‚

    A friend of mine is always saying how much he liked shooting black and white and therefore when I am driving around I try to ask myself how a subject would look in b&w. I have even begun searching specifically for old New England barns just for b&w.
    Thanks to Google upgrading me for free from just vivezza to the whole kit I now have silverfx πŸ™‚ and hdr fx one of my favorites is Grannies Attic. I think I have probably only used it 3 or 4 times but in those instances I think the subject really fut the look. I also did the more typical b&w but for some reason grannies attic looked exactly like something I had seen as a kid.
    It isn’t something I could do “in my camera” I don’t think.
    As for some of the other effects…I like silver fx’s borders or whatever they’re called. Again just because it reminds me of things I have seen…and I just like some if them. Oddly enough I wouldn’t put a border on any of my color images. Numbers 3,7 and I think 11 or 12 are my most used lately.
    My subject matter tends toward NOT to lend itself to grunge as a rule anyway.
    I really like the ability to get a certain look though with the b&w that I wouldn’t get as easily otherwise. I only have ps elements (which I hardly ever use since getting color fx).
    Btw I liked seeing the different look if the same image in this post.

    • Thanks for your thoughts. The post & the questions raised weren’t entirely abstract as you’ll see in the near future.

      On the subject of borders – Color Efex has the same border filter as Silver. The advantage is that in Color you can apply the filter multiple times. I prefer a double frame with the outer one being a simple black line & the inner – whatever. My normal SEP workflow is to omit the border in SEP and add my multiple borders by taking the SEP result into color specifically for the borders. I posted about it here at the end of this post –


      • Thanks Ed! I think once I added a few filters to my favorites I stopped exploring…I never even saw the borders filter. Now I will have to make sure not to over do them πŸ˜‰


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